OUR OPINION: Everyone needs a ‘Taste of Vicksburg’

Published 4:00 am Friday, March 3, 2023

The Taste of Vicksburg series hosted by the Vicksburg Convention Center returned for its second season last Friday — and if you weren’t there, you missed out on an enlightening experience.

Linda Fondren was the guest speaker for February’s luncheon, speaking on Vicksburg’s Black history as part of Black History Month. Fondren, in a stroke of genius, didn’t rely on her own experiences or knowledge for the presentation.

Instead, she chose to share her platform with three guests, each with a different tie to the Vicksburg area and the accomplishments of Black people here.

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Attendees at the VCC were rapt with attention —  some nodding in agreement, some reminiscing and some wide-eyed, learning information they previously hadn’t known. Others still sat quietly listening, comfortably full after a Southern lunch and heaping bowl of banana pudding.

When Taste of Vicksburg began, VCC Director Erin Southard said the goal of the series was to introduce Vicksburgers to the multifaceted city in which we live. “Vicksburg is so much more than the Civil War,” she said.

And she was absolutely right.

Last year’s offerings ranged from operatic performances to lectures on architecture to a presentation on the history of The Vicksburg Post — including a glimpse at the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize certificate, courtesy of the Cashman family.

Taste of Vicksburg is designed by Vicksburgers, for Vicksburgers, regardless of whether they’ve lived here a few months or their whole lives.

The newest iteration of Taste of Vicksburg does a lot of things well — things that lend to an atmosphere of togetherness.

Instead of having attendees spread throughout a large meeting hall, the setting was more intimate, with no more than six tables and a single TV monitor for slideshows. This allowed for more interaction between the speakers and the audience, something that led to more than 30 minutes of questions and answers, both as a group and between individuals.

Attendees walked away having learned something new, with changed perspectives and new friends.

As the schedule for future Taste of Vicksburg events is finalized and announced in the coming weeks, we know we’ll be going — and we hope to see you there.